Rosario agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million contract with Cleveland on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The newly acquired middle infielder had become a spare piece for the Mets, so Cleveland will look to get a bounce-back season from the 25-year-old former top prospect. If Rosario can return to his 2019 form (.287/.323/.432, 15 HR, 19 SB), he would be a great bargain in fantasy drafts. If that season turns out to be the outlier, however, Cleveland has top second base prospect Tyler Freeman waiting in the upper levels of the minors.
Rosario was sent from the Mets to the Indians on Thursday along with Andres Gimenez, Isaiah Greene and Josh Wolf in exchange for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. Rosario started to lose his grip on the Mets' shortstop job last season during a disappointing campaign in which he hit just .252/.272/.371 and failed to steal a single base. In theory, the move to Cleveland should help him get a fresh start, but the player who began to displace him, Andres Gimenez, was also included as part of the deal. It's possible one of the former Mets slides to second base, but there is still a bit of uncertainty with this situation. His ceiling may not be particularly high, as he's never produced an above-average batting line.
Rosario went 1-for-2 with a solo home run during a 4-3 loss to the Nationals in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. Andres Gimenez got the start at shortstop for the matinee but left in the second inning with an oblique strain, and Rosario then took Max Scherzer deep in the fourth as his replacement. After an 0-for-3 showing in the nightcap, Rosario is wrapping up a tough campaign that's put his spot as the Mets' shortstop of the future in jeopardy, posting a .245/.266/.367 slash line with four homers, 15 RBI, 20 runs and a baffling zero steals on only one attempt through 45 games.
Rosario could be moved to center field in 2021, Tim Britton of The Athletic reports. The Mets briefly considered moving Rosario to the outfield last year, but the idea could get a more serious look this offseason with Andres Gimenez making a strong case, both offensively and defensively, that he's a better -- or at least a more reliable -- option at shortstop. Rosario is still only 24, so the team isn't going to give up on him just yet, but his future looks a lot more uncertain than it did during his strong second half in 2019.
Rosario is not in Sunday's starting lineup against the Phillies. Rosario will sit for the third consecutive game, with Andres Gimenez starting in his place and batting ninth. Though neither infielder has been overly impressive at the plate this season, it appears the Mets may be going with the hot hand as Gimenez has four hits in two starts during the weekend series.